August 13, 2017

Pinnacle Point

Pinnacle Point
Digital Sketch

The above is an example of a digital sketch done from life, this I can now print out and do a transfer of onto panel if I so choose, the sketch gives me all the necessary information I need to take it to completion. The atmospheric conditions, and basic hue, plus shape language of the forms and lighting. Its beautiful, this area was once an indigenous peoples fishing trail, and a tremendous hike you can take now days. I am yet to venture but it is one of many in SA I would probably want to recommend.

August 10, 2017

Vervits of the Karoo

Mostly napping vervit troop
Vervit above and below

I very happily had occasion to accompany some students in a near by reserve who are studying these vervit monkeys, thanks to them I got really close and with some real gusto put colour to paper. Top two images. 

Where I live they frequent my compost bin which suits me as most folk would sooner send a flying bullet to save their lone lemon or apricot. Its nice to know they have the attention of academics and not just me. When I first moved to town I got a couple of tiny watercolour interpretations in (below). Just a dab of sienna and a dark cool grey (probably paynes) to accent and create the form. Simple is always most effective. 

Im hoping to do more finished pieces soon and will include reference photos and perhaps a video then. I really want to move toward animals in the next while, especially considering the design I will be doing for a public wall. And in an area where these little guys thrive. They (males I suppose only) have seriously bright turquoise testicles! Ill add a little more information on the next post, as they are very fascinating and there is much to tell in fact. 

August 09, 2017

Its My Birthday!!

I started this blog 10 years ago today, with this little post. I remember well, sitting at the video store on Rosmead ave in Cape Town where I was working (humble beginings!), we had just been taken over by a new owner and so had also gone online with a new system. I had managerial privileges and got to scoping out the options. I could once program with GWbasic but it had been some years since then and without a computer. These things develop fast! I opened a FB account and got my blogspot account linked to my email. Google is a little evil in this way since its not made one update or improvement to the blogger app in the last 10 years that I can tell. That means for someone without much "coding" or web designing savvy I think I have fared well.

Honestly I have also just recently really begun to make sense of the whole Photoshop realm, (thank goodness) and this is helping tremendously with the digital side of my work. I can even make a little gif file as you see, It is really a demonstration of the surface (following my last post) on top of which the little animated armature (happily) sits. So I use a base paper grain/texture/surface and the rest is layers set on multiply, a little focal colour/light and that is it!

Quite extraordinary how things change though, and the world we live in seems so different to what I may have thought 10 years back. Its especially evident in these 'environs', facebook and so on. Everything gets posted online, and networks of people share and comment but perhaps are actually interfacing on a physical level less and less.

FB had the first ingenious closed network system. One of a kind, works seamlessly with all other web content now days. Google started out providing a more autonomous blog platform but simply and seemingly recalled any energy spent on it, instead bolstering their own type of closed network, ie google + . I dont think it will get the same traction, trying for the same market, but of course they are the no.1 search engine, always accumulating information. The biggest 'Machiavellian' baddie of all perhaps. So that without it the web becomes inaccessible. And its just a search engine!

Who will be the biggest, most powerful player in the game for the great pseudo brain we all use these days? If you were a big global multi corp like them what would you say? Hmm I wonder.

 It is certainly the age of information. People are sold hook line and sinker by the rabbit hole searches they go down. Critical thinking we were taught in science class out with the bath water. Anyway..

Aberdeen Street Scene in Watercolour

I have quite a few projects coming up. Painting the karoo scapes, peoples and experience! I will be adding more videos and demos, and many surprises as my creative process unfolds, music even, very exciting. The right sidebar is already full of specific topic lists to look up under and a resources section I will be adding more to in time.

Everything is my own, the idea; of Curt-mart or C-mart is a sharing of information specific to a particular creative process, and its for FREE and with not one bit of hidden ulterior motive (vein glory included). Also the word ART  is a vaguely construed word for me, embedded in my name, and a further premise for the conversation and title. What is art? Hmmmm,? A good question!

I will be sharing more content on Facebook, twitter and Instagram etc, so please join me there too. Here's to 10 years .. the best is yet to come.

August 03, 2017


Surfaces 4 fine art

Surfaces for fine art 


I recently began a series of pieces for the new group exhibit in our area for which colour is the theme. Imibala is the word for colour in Xhosa, and the name of the gallery group also, so this will be a great joy to be a part of. Dianne the curator in charge liked my digital paintings and so I had to figure out a way of presenting these, as 'fine art'. This is my quest and learning curb of late. And I'm happy to share a bit about it.. 

Two things I've been grappling with and wrangling the essential truths from, I can now begin to topic and expound more on in the future too. These are: surfaces and transparency vs opaque media. How exciting. 

Before having the opportunity at Imibala my attention was quite absorbed in watercolours and also as it functions for me wanting to paint on location, en plein air and as this understandably is the exciting part of making pictures, landscapes probably most often but however the subject is found. Because I'm there in the hot seat or cold, icy. And anyway that's another topic but I maintain it in itself, being there, is almost the whole and best part of it, and then just painting! 

So really understanding my mediums is critical on a practical level and obviously in  the traditional application as it were. But having the digital option also frees me up to less of the hassles (and serious considerations) of traditional painting on location, and straight back into a traditional means perhaps of displaying and presenting the digital painting. This becomes a giclée, which I try not to say out aloud too often but is a print without too much hassle over definition, a print sold as fine art more precisely. 

4 boxed and primed wooden panels

What I opted for was to build boxes for the print transfer and this implies preparing a surface, and that is the whole chestnut! 

A surface to an artist is like the actual instrument to a musician perhaps, it is the pure potential and free expression. I'm speculating here of course but I recon it's one of the top best things ever! So, let me elaborate. In case your still reading, that is. 

My surfaces are made from a standard white glossy coated Masonite you buy at any old hardware place, and pine or similar  strips to box the edges, so that the pieces form a nice 'canvas' which is easily displayed. I glue and clamp my sides and it's a question of accurate measuring, cutting and then sanding, then priming and resanding and finally painting. The end product is evidence of the effort put in. 

1st coat oil paint
2nd coat oil paint close up

Along the way I was struck by the sublimity of this process, also conscious of other types of surfaces (i.e. water colour papers) or those for opaque media, the similarities and differences but almost finding a deeper knowledge of the whole bigger creative act. It's bonkers I know and so AWSOME! If you haven't ever dragged a brush loaded with oil paint over a primed surface and then sat to think about the next step, I highly recommend it. 

You have to make the materials yours, and eventually settle on the result, it is actually so wonderful how they all interact and then that is just the begining, thats just the beautifully textured and vibrant surface. What next? Well, a photo and perhaps photoshop? In this case my surfaces had to be pristine, and thus requiring the intensive covering but I still ended up with lovely texture and edges as you can see.

The finished surface of a single panel

I keep up to date on the technical front and have noticed the improvement in painting apps, Adobes new products are a whizz to feel after trying my share of different types. Frankly I invested in my iPad at the time expecting the gap in the market to close and be breached between the unhappy idea of pen-mouse options and on the opposite end professional and very expensive Cintique touch screen devices. 

Anyway I've been hearing allot about brushes, what about surfaces? I am uploading a variety of surfaces I have captured and edited for anyone to have and will also put them in the sidebar (link below).